ID Your Small Boat

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Each year, the Coast Guard and other search-and-rescue agencies deal with a multitude of small vessels—mostly kayaks, canoes, small sailboats, dinghies, SUPs and skiffs—that are found adrift in open water or beached with no occupant.


paddlesmart-decalMany of these vessels bear no identification, making it impossible to contact the owner to determine if anyone might have fallen overboard or had otherwise been separated from the vessel and in need of assistance. In many cases, S&R personnel must assume that someone is in trouble, leading to a time-consuming—and costly—search operation.

A simply way to avoid such a scenario is to write your name, phone number and email address on the hull of your kayak, canoe or skiff using an indelible marker. You can also apply a stick-on label with contact information (available for free at many marine retail stores, through the Coast Guard or local Coast Guard Auxiliary), or you can simply place a business card inside a watertight bag and affix it to your boat.

Doing so can not only help get your boat back if it goes adrift, it can also save the Coast Guard a lot of time, effort and money.